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African American freedom is often defined in terms of emancipation and civil rights legislation, but it did not arrive with the stroke of a pen or the rap of a gavel. No single event makes this more plain, Laurie Green argues, than the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers' strike, which culminated in the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Exploring the notion of "freedom" in postwar Memphis, Green demonstrates that the civil rights movement was battling an ongoing "plantation mentality" based on race, gender, and power that permeated southern culture long before--and even after--the groundbreaking legislation of the mid-1960s. With its slogan "I AM a Man!" the Memphis strike provides a clarion example of how the movement fought for a black freedom that consisted of not only constitutional rights but also social and human rights. As the sharecropping system crumbled and migrants streamed to the cities during and after World War II, the struggle for black freedom touched all aspects of daily life. Green traces the movement to new locations, from protests against police brutality and racist movie censorship policies to innovations in mass culture, such as black-oriented radio stations. Incorporating scores of oral histories, Green demonstrates that the interplay of politics, culture, and consciousness is critical to truly understanding freedom and the black struggle for it. Green explores the notion of “freedom” among working-class African Americans in southern cities (specifically, Memphis) during the post-WWII Black Freedom Movement. She argues that although the meaning of freedom is often neglected outside the realm of slavery and emancipation, the civil rights movement indeed was still battling an ongoing “plantation mentality” based on race, gender, and power, which permeated southern culture even after the groudbreaking legislation of the mid 1960s. She examines the Memphis sanitation strike of 1968 (which took the slogan “I AM a Man!” and culminated in the assassination of MLK) as a clarion example of how the movement fought for a black freedom that consisted of not only constitutional rights, but also social and human rights. In her exploration of the “freedom” mentality in Memphis, she looks at aspects of daily life such as protests against police brutality and racist movie censorship policies and innovations in mass culture, such as black-oriented radio stations, that accompanied the crumbling of the sharecropping system and the rise of urban migration. Exploring the notion of African American “freedom” in postwar Memphis, Green demonstrates that the civil rights movement was battling an ongoing “plantation mentality” based on race, gender, and power that permeated southern culture long before--and even after--the groundbreaking legislation of the mid-1960s. She points to the Memphis sanitation workers strike as a clarion example of how the movement fought for a black freedom that consisted of not only constitutional rights but also social and human rights. African American freedom is often defined in terms of emancipation and civil rights legislation, but it did not arrive with the stroke of a pen or the rap of a gavel. No single event makes this more plain, Laurie Green argues, than the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers' strike, which culminated in the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Exploring the notion of "freedom" in postwar Memphis, Green demonstrates that the civil rights movement was battling an ongoing "plantation mentality" based on race, gender, and power that permeated southern culture long before--and even after--the groundbreaking legislation of the mid-1960s. With its slogan "I AM a Man!" the Memphis strike provides a clarion example of how the movement fought for a black freedom that consisted of not only constitutional rights but also social and human rights. As the sharecropping system crumbled and migrants streamed to the cities during and after World War II, the struggle for black freedom touched all aspects of daily life. Green traces the movement to new locations, from protests against police brutality and racist movie censorship policies to innovations in mass culture, such as black-oriented radio stations. Incorporating scores of oral histories, Green demonstrates that the interplay of politics, culture, and consciousness is critical to truly understanding freedom and the black struggle for it.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 2-7
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. 8-15
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  1. Introduction: Migration, Memory, and Freedom in the Urban Heart of the Delta
  2. pp. 1-14
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  1. 1 Memphis before World War II: Migrants, Mushroom Strikes, and the Reign of Terror
  2. pp. 15-46
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  1. 2 Where Would the Negro Women Apply for Work?: Wartime Clashes over Labor, Gender, and Racial Justice
  2. pp. 47-80
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  1. 3 Moral Outrage: Postwar Protest against Police Violence and Sexual Assault
  2. pp. 81-111
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  1. 4 Night Train, Freedom Train: Black Youth and Racial Politics in the Early Cold War
  2. pp. 112-141
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  1. 5 Our Mental Liberties: Banned Movies, Black-Appeal Radio, and the Struggle for a New Public Sphere
  2. pp. 142-182
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  1. 6 Rejecting Mammy: The Urban-Rural Road in the Era of Brown v. Board of Education
  2. pp. 183-215
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  1. 7 We Were Making History: Students, Sharecroppers, and Sanitation Workers in the Memphis Freedom Movement
  2. pp. 216-250
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  1. 8 Battling the Plantation Mentality: From the Civil Rights Act to the Sanitation Strike
  2. pp. 251-287
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  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 288-294
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 295-358
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 359-379
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 381-385
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 387-415
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781469604534
Related ISBN
9780807831069
MARC Record
OCLC
593230906
Pages
432
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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